B.C. Ferries crew launched a rescue boat to help a boat in distress outside Tsawwassen on Thursday night. (KENT HEGGART photo)

Nanaimo-bound ferry responds to flares, assists boaters in distress

Incident happened outside Tsawwassen on Thursday night

A ferry responded to distress flares and helped a boat return safely to port on rough seas last night.

The Queen of Alberni sailing from Tsawwassen to Nanaimo circled back to help a family on a boat that had lost power, a witness said.

Kent Heggart said about half an hour after the ferry left Tsawwassen, passengers spotted flares and alerted crew. The ferry had already passed the boat in distress, but doubled back.

“They shone the spotlights, found the boat,” Heggart said. “I don’t know how they found the boat, because they had lost all electrical power, so basically their navigation system and all the electricity was out.”

He said two ferries crew members piloted a zodiac to meet the 38-foot boat and the family, and stayed until a Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft was able to escort the boat, which still had fuel, to port.

Heggart suggested the operation was made more dramatic due to the rough seas.

“The zodiac had taken on so much water that their pump couldn’t keep up and the boys were soaked,” he said.

Heggart said the ferry had left Tsawwassen 30 minutes after its scheduled 8:15 p.m. departure.

“Maybe it was a good thing we were late. Some things happen for a reason,” he said.

He said crew provided regular updates, and at one point the captain announced free hot chocolate and coffee for everybody, “which of course everybody gladly took.”

Heggart said passengers cheered the rescue and were proud to have been a small part of it, and didn’t mind B.C. Ferries getting them back to Nanaimo far behind schedule.

“It didn’t matter…” he said. “Who else was going to help these people? It was a beautiful thing to see.”

A service notice from the ferry corporation late Thursday night noted that the Queen of Alberni was 115 minutes behind schedule “due to assisting a vessel in distress in conjunction with the coast guard.”

READ ALSO: On the bridge with B.C. Ferries

READ ALSO: Hybrid Gabriola vessels part of B.C. Ferries’ plans to reduce emissions

READ ALSO: B.C. Ferries asks for input on Horseshoe Bay terminal concepts



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer notes provincial health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

COVID-19: Latest update from City of Parksville

Playgrounds remain closed, bylaw officers to support enforcement of rules

Parksville, RDN moves to Stage 2 watering restrictions as of April 1

‘Snowpack accumulation has been below average’

PQB crime report: Resident provides banking information after email saying they had won lottery

Fraud, theft among 240 complaints received by Oceanside RCMP in one-week period

PQBeat Podcast: Talking cars with Philip Wolf and Peter McCully

Listen: Chat includes best and worst vehicles, dream rides and more

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

COVID-19: List of postponed/cancelled events in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Send your organization’s updates to editor@pqbnews.com

Trudeau promises $82B in economic supports in COVID-19 fight

The money will come through a combination of direct supports for workers and businesses and tax deferrals

Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

Government has signed deals with three companies

World COVID-19 updates: Putin may be exposed; 30,000 prisoners released

Comprehensive news update from around the world as of Tuesday, March 31.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘This is no joke’: B.C. woman in Alberta hospital asks people to stay home during COVID-19

‘I want people to start listening to what the doctors are saying. This is no joke, please stay home’

Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

Teamsters Canada says truckers are increasingly being denied warm meals

Canadians asked to wash mailboxes, keep dogs at bay, to ensure safe mail delivery

Four postal workers in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 infection:

Most Read